Greening Up

Greening Up

Hiking near the Des Plaines River as nature wakes up from a long winter.  The grass is turning green, the trees have buds, and creatures are out by the dozen.  We encountered some snakes wandering in the tall grass, and even climbing the trees.  The water levels were up a bit due to the recent rains, and portions of the wooded island were under several inches of water.

The water rushed between islands, and where the river narrowed, some pretty heavy rapids formed for short distances.  Warm weather birds are just beginning to make their appearance, adding some interest to the shore and sky.


Kankakee Confluence

The morning after a spring snowfall, the outcroppings of rock on the bank of the Kankakee River were highlighted with snow. The Kankakee State Park was empty - as it often is on cold days, but signs of spring were everywhere.  The new fallen snow covered the early spring plants, but the river was once again free of ice, and birds were stopping along the river on their migration north.

This portion of the Kankakee River is quite scenic, with the outcropping of rock along the banks, and several overhangs and small caves nearby.  One of the overhangs can be seen on the right side of this photograph. About 15 feet high, it marks a turn in the stream just before it merges with the river. Over time, the stream and river have worn away the rock at the water level, forming a concave face on the rock wall.

The rock point seen in the center of the image has worn away much the same way.  The strata of the rock wall can be clearly seen, because each layer wears away at a different rate.  Standing on that point gives the feeling of being aboard a ship - as the water moves past the point, you feel as though you're standing on the prow of a moving ship.

One positive thing about a spring freeze - the muddy bank of the river was solid, so hiking was easy.



Visiting the area to explore the "Indian Caves" in what should be the area's last measurable snowfall of the Spring, the reflections of the bridge and trees in the stream were rather soothing after a cold, mile hike.  The stream was shallow enough to walk through without getting too wet, allowing me to not only capture this image, but also to explore one of the caves near the end of the canyon.  The mud was frozen - keeping me from sinking in, and the recent snowfall highlighted the contours and texture of the canyon walls, providing an attractive, yet difficult to capture photographic opportunity.

In summer months, local children climb the canyon walls, and follow the stream through the canyon. To me, the rocks don't seem stable enough to climb, but I am going back for a walk through the canyon stream....